Allocasuarina gall scale

Cylindrococcus spiniferus

Cylindrococcus spiniferus is a gall forming scale insect found on Allocasuarina species (She-oak) in Australia
Allocasuarina stem galls (Cylindrococcus spiniferus) An amazing flower-like structure is caused by a scale insect interfering with the chemistry of Allocasuarina stems. They look similar to the actual tree cones among which they are interspersed but also different (see inset). Found on Allocasuarina stems in a local nature reserve.
Likely female insects inside these. The scale insect uses chemistry to force the tree to grow this clever little flowery home for it. The details of the gall 'stem' are particularly fascinating. About 15mm long.
From Dr Lyn Cook...
"The galls are induced on new vegetative growth (new branchlets) rather than cones, and they can grow on male and female plants (many Allocasuarina species have separate sexes, and cones are only on females). One of the identifying features of the host plant species is the number of scale-like leaves around the nodes of branchlets, and the galls make them easy to count - the number of bracts in each ring on the gall is the same as the number of tiny leaves around a branch node." Allocasuarina,Allocasuarina gall scale,Australia,Cylindrococcus spiniferus,Gall,Geotagged,Summer

Appearance

The galls created by these insects are flower bud-like, cone shaped, about 15mm long.
They are a very similar size to the natural tree cones but differ in design.
Male galls are narrower than females. They appear only on Allocasuarina species (not Casuarina)

Distribution

Found in south-eastern Australia including Tasmania

Status

Least concern

References:

Some text fragments are auto parsed from Wikipedia.

http://www.brisbaneinsects.com/brisbane_softbugs/SheOakGall.htm
http://bie.ala.org.au/species/urn:lsid:biodiversity.org.au:afd.taxon:628278ff-ed7c-4cda-bc0c-a8fcd851e697#
http://eol.org/pages/841232/overview
Taxonomy
KingdomAnimalia
DivisionArthropoda
ClassInsecta
OrderHemiptera
FamilyEriococcidae
GenusCylindrococcus
SpeciesCylindrococcus spiniferus
Photographed in
Australia